Waskey v. Hammer,
223 U.S. 85 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Waskey v. Hammer, 223 U.S. 85 (1912)

Waskey v. Hammer

No. 84

Argued December 7, 1911

Decided January 22, 1912

223 U.S. 85


A discovery of mineral within the limits of a mining claim is essential to its validity; proximity will not suffice.

An original location is invalidated by readjusting the lines so as to exclude the point or place of the only prior discovery.

A readjusted location becomes effective as of the date of the readjustment as though it were a new one, and if the locator is disqualified at the time of the readjustment, the location is invalid.

A prohibition against purchase of public lands by officers of the Land Department and employees is to prevent abuse and inspire confidence in administration of the land laws, and should be construed broadly to include officials and employees of subordinate offices and all methods of securing title to public lands under the general laws.

A United States mineral surveyor is disqualified under § 452, Rev.Stat., from making a mining location.

Although the opinion may possibly go beyond the necessities of the case concerning the statute, if it states the natural effect to be given to a statute, and that view is accepted and acted upon for many years by the Department enforcing it, the construction should not be disturbed.

The general rule of law that an act done in violation of statutory prohibition is void, and confers no right upon the wrongdoer, held applicable in this case and not subject to the qualification that it was the legislative intent that, under the circumstances of the case, the statute should not apply.

The fact that a statute prescribes a penalty for the doing of a prohibited act does not confine the scope of the statute to the prohibition, or make the prohibited act valid as against parties other than the government, and so held as to § 452, Rev.Stat.

170 F. 31 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the mining laws of the United States and conflicting claim thereunder, are stated in the opinion.

Page 223 U. S. 89

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